DOJ chief: 'VP' Duterte can become President… again

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — There's no stopping a "Vice President" Rodrigo Duterte from assuming the highest post in the land for the second time.

A hypothetical question was posed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in an event hosted by the Rotary Club on Tuesday, if a sitting President dies, can Vice President Duterte succeed him?

Guevarra pointed out this is precisely the role of the Vice President, which is to take over.

"If the elected president dies in office, becomes permanently incapacitated, or resigns. That is the role of the Vice President, and people are expected to understand that that will happen should they vote for a particular person to the position of Vice President," he explained.

There's also nothing in the Constitution that prohibits Duterte from running for Vice President, according to Guevarra. What is barred, he added, is for him to seek reelection.

"We have seen this before other former Presidents who ran for other lower positions after they finished their term as President. Former President (Gloria) Macapagal-Arroyo ran for a congressional district position, former President (Joseph) Estrada ran for city mayor. So they may run for other positions, except run again (for) President."

President Duterte confirmed he will for run for the second highest seat in the country in the 2022 elections after ruling PDP-Laban party endorsed him.

He admitted that he'll go for the vice presidency since the opposition is sure to lose just like what happened in 2019 to Otso Diretso's senatorial slate where none of the candidates made it.

But he said last week he will give way if his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, runs for President.

Critics slammed the plan which is described as an attempt to evade possible prosecution by the International Criminal Court should the investigation into the Duterte administration's drug war killings proceed.

Guevarra, however, reiterated that the Vice President is not immune from suit.